Make No Mistake: Trying Something New in MRO is Worth the Risk

By George E. Krauter

March 01, 2017 at 7:08 AM

“A Person Who Never Makes a Mistake, Never Tried Anything New”– Albert Einstein 

At a procurement expo and conference, 58 people visited our MRO presentation on the benefits of outsourcing management of the MRO supply chain. Of those 58, 27 expressed significant interest in outsourcing MRO inventory management to reduce operational costs and increase plant reliability—and save their company money. Subsequently, of the 27 who were interested, just four continued into programs which resulted in an average 25% reduction in total cost of MRO ownership, inventory recovery via Master Data Leadership™ and Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) reductions that increased asset reliability.

Okay, what happened to the other 23 expo visitors who were positive about MRO cost recovery but did not take action to consider any next steps when they returned to the plant? Here are the results of an investigation into why the recognition of the potential benefits of MRO changed (did not resonate) from the positive interest at the expo to the real world in their work space.

  • Management said, “You want to do what? Are you crazy?”
  • “Everyone” complains about MRO; “Everyone” has an opinion about what to do, but there is no consensus as to what to change and/or how to change it. Since “no one” will agree, nothing changes.
  • I have too many emergencies to handle to find time to change (caused by MRO—the vicious circle).
  • What if it does not work, or what if some will not let it work? I will be blamed.
  • What if I stick my neck out? I could get fired.
  • We have many entrenched MRO suppliers that are protected. I would step on too many toes if I tried a single outsource solution to our MRO problem.
  • The company just had a layoff of 150 people; I want to lay low and not stand out so I will survive. (Wouldn’t this be the time to come forward with an idea that would save the company money?)
  • I passed it off to an associate. Which means I won’t be blamed if it does not work.
  • My director just signed a price agreement with traditional suppliers. Capturing all the other MRO costs we incur is not in my pay grade. 
  • The director of procurement views outsourcing as competition to procurement’s programs. They would not “buy in.”

So, keeping the status quo is safe, especially when change is considered radical, aka MRO outsourcing. Are the benefits of change worth the risk? How would you know if you do not investigate the potentials? As Albert Einstein said, You can’t make a mistake if you do not try anything new. What if he had not tried anything new? What if he had not taken the risk?

These 23 people are “MRO safe,” while their company continues to assume cost burdens that can be recovered.

Listen to a series of My Purchasing Center podcast interviews with George Krauter based on ideas in his new book, Outsourcing MRO: Finding a Better Way:

The Market Basket to Select an MRO Supplier: A Flawed Process?

How to Calculate the Cost of a Purchase Order 

Banging Head Against Wall: Overcoming Resistance to Change

Tags: purchasing MRO indirect Supply chain management Procurement sourcing
Category: Blog Post

George E. Krauter


George Krauter, former founder and president of Industrial Systems Assoc. [I.S.A.] has retired as vice president of Synovos.

Currently, he has initiated, "George Krauter Consulting [GKC]"  for effective reliability and cost recovery for consumers  of MRO materials. George is a recognized authority on the management of the MRO supply chain and support for maintenance reliability programs. His book, "OUTSOURCING MRO...FINDING A BETTER WAY" is available from Amazon and from Reliability

He is published in Uptime, Modern Distribution Management, and Supply and Demand Chain Executive. George has conducted seminars across North America, in Europe, and in the U.A.R. as well as a guest speaker at Temple U., Howard U., Duke, and MIT.

George is a graduate of Temple University; he lives with his wife, Joyce, in Bucks County, PA. All grand kids live within eating distance. He can be reached anytime:

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Related Content

Lean, Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen Success = People and Leadership First, Not the Process and Tools!

Tom DePaoli

Many organizations make huge investments in disciplined approaches to problem solving like Lean, Lean Six Sigma and Kaizens, which are labeled as “continuous improvement”. Read More

Creating a Roadmap for a Sustainable Procurement Future with ISO 20400

Suchismita Dhal

The International Organization for Standardization has recently released ISO 20400, a standard for sustainable procurement. It provides guidelines that can lead to improved Read More

Striking a Balance: Centralized vs. Decentralized Procurement

Guest Editor

The structure of a Procurement Department within an organization can dramatically impact the effectiveness of the sourcing and purchasing activities. Over the years, more companies have made the transition to Read More

Supplier Profiles


Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More


It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More